The St. Louis Cardinals scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning, two of those on a double by Yadier Molina, and the offense was more than enough to back right-hander Michael Wacha in a 4-2 victory over the struggling Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on Friday night.
Wacha (2-1) has been a perennial nemesis of the Reds, running his career record against them to 10-1, with an ERA of 2.88. He went 6 2/3 innings on Friday, giving up six hits and one run, with one walk and three strikeouts.
The defeat spoiled the debut of Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman, who was promoted after manager Bryan Price was fired on Thursday. The Reds have lost 16 of their first 19 games this season.
The Cardinals quickly jumped on Reds left-hander Brandon Finnegan (0-2), who was making just his second start of the season after dealing with a biceps injury late in spring training.
Singles by Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez, plus a walk to Marcell Ozuna, loaded the bases, and Molina launched a ground rule double to right-center field, giving him 14 RBIs for the season. Jedd Gyorko added a sacrifice fly to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 3-0.
The Cardinals added a run in the second when Martinez doubled to drive in Pham, who had walked.
Finnegan went three innings, allowing four runs on five hits with four walks and two strikeouts. His ERA ballooned to 11.05 for the season.
The Reds ended a string of 21 straight scoreless innings, including back-to-back shutouts in Milwaukee, when they got on the board in the third inning.
Billy Hamilton singled with one out and went to third on a single by Jesse Winker. Jose Peraza followed with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Hamilton, though the Cardinals caught Winker trying to tag and go to second base on the play to end the inning.
The Reds tried to rally in the top of the ninth inning against Cardinals closer Bud Norris.
Scooter Gennett drew a leadoff walk and Adam Duvall followed with a single, but Tucker Barnhart grounded into a double play.
Rookie third baseman Alex Blandino then singled to left field to score Gennett and get his first major league RBI, before Norris wrapped up his fifth save of the season by getting Cliff Pennington to line out to shortstop.
The Reds out-hit the Cardinals nine to eight, led by two each from Winker and Blandino. Martinez had three hits for the Cardinals.
—Field Level Media